School bags get lighter thanks to NEP 20204 min readReading Time: 3 minutes
Reading the National Education Policy 2020, particularly point 4.30, brought a smile to my face and laid out the memory of an early morning from about two decades ago. I was getting ready for school when my Mum found extra books in my bag. She started to take them out. I abandoned my cheese sandwich and ran to stop her. I had developed the habit of sneaking all my books into my bag to avoid punishment if I forgot a certain book needed on a certain day. My mum was not amused at my logic but she gave me a hug. That day, I went to school with a bag much lighter than what I had intended. Never again did my bag host unnecessary guests.
I am glad to see that the NEP reflects my mum’s thoughts.
Behind this long sentence and the big words inhabiting it, lies a simple meaning;
Schools will now ensure that school bags are lighter.
Why is this important?
Lighter schoolbags immediately translate to better posture, less muscular pain, and heightened morale.
In a 2012 study, it was found that students suffered from stooping shoulders, pain, or stiffness in the neck, upper back, and shoulders that were all but absent during school holidays. This makes the connection between the weight of school bags and its physical effects on students rather clear. So, it’s about time that systemic changes are made to counter this problem. The NEP has acknowledged the absolute need to reduce this physical and psychological stress on students. Hurray!
Additionally, students of classes 6 to 8 will experience 10 bagless days throughout this period to engage in a creative activity or an internship. This could mean learning from artists, carpenters, gardeners, potters, and more. Imagine heading to school without carrying that heavy bag!
The NEP has come as a breath of fresh air for students.
Now, you don’t have to choose between math and art. You can do both.
Is it difficult to understand your feelings sometimes? Now, your teachers will help you.
Do you want to learn a new language but also have time for homework? Now, you will be able to choose more languages at school.
All this (and more) without a heavy bag weighing you down!
With the new NEP, the school bag will no longer be a burden. Instead, it will be like Hermione Granger’s magical beaded handbag- compact but with everything you need to make it through the day!
Put on your thinking hat!
If you become a policy maker for a day, how will you answer these questions?
- What would you like to see in an education policy and why?
- How do you arrange your backpack so that it’s not too heavy?
- What are the things you don’t like about school? How do you think it can be made better?
The Union Cabinet approved the National Education Policy on July 29, 2020. The policy aims to transform the present education system towards a more application (and fun) based learning.
Photo: Thamizhpparithi Maari